Skip to content

Andrews, DeSutter named Grandma's Marathon Volunteers of the Year

Grandma's Marathon. Submitted

Joan Andrews and Tom DeSutter have been named the 2023 Don Fennessy Volunteers of the Year, it was announced today by Grandma’s Marathon.

The pair each has more than two decades of volunteering history with the event, with most of it coming side-by-side as co-coordinators of the race weekend information booth.

Both Andrews and DeSutter claim there are too many highlights to count throughout the years, but the feeling of helping others has been a mainstay in their position since the beginning.

“We’ve had a chance to meet people from all over the world,” Andrews said about her experience at the information booth. “The runners and their families never fail to amaze me. They constantly thank us for our help, so we know we are providing an important service, and we feel so honored to be receiving this award.”

“It’s a lot of work each year to make the Information Booth a success,” DeSutter said, “but the sense of contribution to the overall effort adds a specific meaning for all of us.”

The duo works year-round to help recruit and train volunteers for the information booth, which serves as a trusted “go-to voice” of the marathon for runners and the community on race weekend. What started as one booth more than 20 years ago has now turned into two, but the co-coordinators have smiled through the changes.

“Showing off Duluth and the North Shore,” DeSutter said, “and being part of such a great event while having so much fun is something I continue to relish. Joining the elite group of volunteers who have given so much time and effort is truly an honor.”

“To be recognized by the marathon itself is just icing on the cake,” Andrews added. “Some awesome volunteers have preceded us, so it’s an honor to be included among the great history of this race.”

Named after longtime Grandma’s Marathon volunteer and Board member Don Fennessy, this award recognizes individuals or groups who have donated a tremendous amount of time and, in doing so, have assisted in the successful operation of the event.

Andrews and DeSutter will be officially presented with their award on Thursday, June 22 at the 2023 Grandma’s Marathon Volunteer Appreciation Party at Wade Stadium in Duluth.


2023 – Joan Andrews & Tom DeSutter

2022 – Shawn Carlson, David Pollard, & Mike Krzewinski

2021 – Darrin & Michelle Keiper

2020 – n/a

2019 – Mike Tipple

2018 – Peggy & Doug Simensen

2017 – Geri Peterson

2016 – Ellen & Wally Johnson

2015 – Cheryl Fosdick

2014 – Marge Swor & Family

2013 – Al & Jan Swanson

2012 – College of St. Scholastica

2011 – Jock Glendenning

2010 – John Herbertz

2009 – Woodland Hills

2008 – Brock Pelzel

2007 – Steve & Joyce Lent

2006 – Lyle Johnson

2005 – Barb & Terry Davis

2004 – Carol Gallinger

2003 – Sue Bussa

2002 – David & Jill Hisdahl

2001 – Buck McDonald

2000 – Chelly Ferguson

1999 – Durbin Keeney

1998 – Proctor Community Band & Mr. Moody’s Marching Band

1997 – Don & Ella Fennessy

1996 – Bruce & Colleen Hasforth

1995 – Jan DeRoche

1994 – Arrowhead Radio Amateurs Club

1993 – Ken & Mona Rae Cich

1992 – Herb Dillon

1991 – Ken Docteur

1990 – Seitz Family

1989 – Eric & Amy Kaiser

1988 – Candy Furo

1987 – Taire Lind

1986 – John Leppi

1985 – Ray Paavola